I hate public speaking. All the prep, anxiety about stage fright and wondering if your content is going to meet the expectations of the audience. Not to mention being too hot, too cold, having bright lights shining on you, revealing to the audience that you don’t have the skill of ‘writing on a flipchart legibly’.
Nevertheless, I often commit to public speaking activities. I go there anyway.
Luckily for us, we have a brilliant public speaking coach as a client and we’ve picked up lots of great advice from him, so it is getting easier.
The other reason we keep agreeing to do speaking engagements is because delivering a presentation is a brilliant opportunity to help people move their businesses forward, and it’s such a GREAT way to connect with a big group of people quickly, and memorably.
Now, I’m saying the words: ‘public speaking’, but don’t be imagining that either Sian or I are Marie Forleo-ing it across Europe on an official tour. No. I’m talking about waaaaaaay smaller gigs. Literally just giving a talk at networking groups, or industry meet-ups can be very effective, and accessible to anyone.
Every time one of us gives a talk, as well as the well-trod process of developing content, panicking, stressing out, procrastinating about rehearsing, we also build in a few marketing elements as we prepare, knowing that this will help our audience to get the most out of our content, and access the rest of what we can help them with. Here are the things that we always add in, so that you can do the same.
1. Always plan to teach something
I’ve lost track of how many speaker pitches I’ve heard where the speaker just talks about their own business, and what they have to sell. Don’t do this. It’s a huge turn-off for the audience. Instead provide something of value, teach a small part of your offering to the group, and position yourself as an expert on your subject.
2. Keep telling your online communities that this event is happening
Make sure you promote the event in the run-up. Get as many of your personal network to come along as you can, you’ll be popular with the organisers (i.e. they’ll ask you again) and you’ll have some friendly smiling faces in amongst the scary, scary, crowd.
3. Make a specific offer during your pitch
Don’t be salesy, but it’s okay to remind them that you sell things and what they are. It’s a business community (as long as it is a business community). Offer a discount to the attendees, if it seems appropriate.
4. Provide a pdf or printed version of your notes
Give your audience a break from taking notes and tell them you have done the hard graft for them, by making a pdf cheat sheet on your content available. You can either offer this online (better as it brings traffic to your site) or bring a printed version if the tech is beyond you.
5. Invite the audience to connect with you on social media and include your handles in your slides and on handouts
If they are internet surfing while you talk (hopefully not) they might as well be signing up to be part of your community. Connecting on LinkedIn is an easy ask for your audience while you are speaking to them.
6. Use the content that you have created as source material for future blog posts, videos or lead magnets.
You’ve put all that work into creating great content. Use it as source material for other types of content. You could even get a VA to put these other things together for you based on your presentation. Win.
7. Take lots of photos and video of the presentation
Use photos on the day to share what you are doing with your communities, allowing them to build connections with you and see what goes on behind the scenes in your business (good for ‘know, like, trust’, more about that here). Videos make great future social media content.
8. Promote your mailing list
Use a printed sheet or tablet to collect opt-ins in the room, build your email list while the desire to connect is strong (remember GDPR rules).
9. Finish with a call to action.
Ask the audience to do something in your conclusion, every marketing activity should end with a call to action and speaking is no exception.
10. Send a personal follow-up email to anyone who came to speak with you afterwards.
Just because it’ll make them feel special, and they’ll probably tell other people about how great you were, always a good thing for business karma.
If you are doing these every time you speak, you can be sure that all the effort you have put in to get your presentation right is going to generate a positive marketing result.
And, if you want help with structuring your content, check out Jeremy Cassell Coaching, he has a brilliant framework called The 12 Habits of Exceptional Speakers that gives great advice on creating a top-notch presentation and delivering it to the best of your ability.
For more advice on various ways to connect with an audience, why not check out our free resource on the very same subject? You can find it here.